More people than ever are enjoying the convenience of shared-mobility services: transportation network companies (TNCs–Uber, Lyft, etc.), bike-share, scooter-share, and other easy ways to get around. Eric Haggett, senior associate with DESMAN and a member of IPMI’s Planning, Design, & Construction Committee, found himself pondering this recently and wondered if there isn’t more to it all than meets the eye:
- While there are real and potential benefits to society of increasing mobility options, how do we ensure these benefits are available to everyone?
- Do we care if these options are not available to some groups?
- If the trend in society is toward mobility-as-a-service, what happens to the segment of society that can’t afford those services or are not physically capable of using them? Will this be yet another way in which the “haves” separate themselves from the “have nots”?
In this month’s The Parking Professional, Haggett breaks down these concerns along with others. How will underbanked or unbanked people use these systems? What about disabled people? And what is our industry’s responsibility, especially while mobility is young?
It’s a great, thought-provoking read: check it out here. And then share your thoughts on Forum: Are these challenges ones our industry should address? And how?
Micro-mobility can be tough to bring to smaller or economically challenged communities, whose populations may not use shared bikes or scooters enough to generate providers’ minimum required monthly per-ride charges. But a startup with a new model is emerging as a possible solution.
Koloni, a new provider of shared bikes, scooters, and even sports equipment, charges communities $35 per-bike, per-month rather than using a per-ride fee model. The towns then choose their own per-use rates and offer users an app, just like the bigger companies. The different model circumvents larger companies’ complaints that low ridership doesn’t justify the cost to keep cycles in those areas, where they sometimes launch and quickly leave.
Kolani says it’s operating in about a dozen towns, including some Midwest cities whose harsh winter weather discourages micro-mobility use for months at a time–which has discouraged other operators from launching.
Read the whole story here.
By Casey Jones, CAPP
We live in exciting transportation times, where the pace of innovation, creativity, and effort by the technology powerhouses such as Google and Amazon are at a breakneck pace. In places large and small, on college campuses, at shopping malls, and at the airports we frequent, we’re seeing a surge of car-share, bike-share, and now shooter-share offerings that previously seemed unimaginable. But with every new technology and innovation there are unintended consequences–often positive but sometimes negative–that are a necessary and expected outcome of progress.
In our industry, we’re seeing this play out each day. Take car-share for example. New research reported in StreetsBlog NYC by transportation analyst Bruce Schaller recently revealed that 70 percent of trips by transportation network companies (TNCs) are occurring in nine major metropolitan areas, adding 5.7 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and adding still more congestion to the places already overwhelmed by traffic jams, pollution, and growing commute times. What’s more surprising and alarming is the impact of car-share trips on alternatives to driving. Schaller’s research shows that the bulk of TNC trips–60 percent–either replace transit, biking, and walking, or would not have been made without the availability of TNCs. The remaining 40 percent of trip displacement is split evenly between personal vehicle trips and trips previously accommodated by taxis.
The stakes are high for cities to address congestion, safety, pollution, and the viability of critical public transportation systems, and if TNCs wish to remain viable, they cannot compound the challenges cities face. Municipal government bodies must act now to put in place policies and management strategies to accommodate emerging shared-use transportation services in a manner that reduces their adverse impacts.
Casey Jones, CAPP, is vice president of TimHaahs.
E-scooters pose an issue in many cities but perhaps none like New York, where they’re too slow for the street and too fast for pedestrian-packed sidewalks. The city is contemplating how to legalize the popular, often shared machines and there’s a new call for a scooter speed limit downtown.
While nothing official has come from the Department of Transportation, there are rumblings–and an all-out call from one attorney who frequently represents injured cyclists–to impose a 15 mph speed limit on e-scooters. The lawyer wants to go so far as to install speed governors on the machines to force them to keep it slow.
Read the whole story here.
By Nathan Donnell
I saw my first shared electric scooter in Santa Monica about a year ago. Since then, the scooters seem to be popping up in cities all over the country. They’re getting mixed reviews from the public. Most people I spoke to who’ve ridden say the scooters are fun and they would use them again. Others say they’re a safety issue and won’t last. The scooters don’t come with helmets, they don’t have turn signals, and they can’t be driven on the sidewalk, which means they need to share the road with automobiles. Most of the time there’s not a dedicated location to store the scooters.
Public officials are clamoring to get regulations put in place for this mode of transportation, which is like no other mode to date. A major city recently impounded more than 300 unpermitted scooters. The city used the scooter company’s app to locate the scooters–a brilliant use of the technology! Some cites have banned scooters altogether. Scooter companies are relying on public popularity to push municipalities into allowing them to be a part of their streets.
Generally, transportation officials across the country are welcoming the scooter craze in hopes it will ease congestion and add one more way to get around city streets, but the officials need to be the ones writing the rules. A few of the areas being looked at are not blocking right of ways, allowable sidewalk mobility, and the use of wheelchair-accessible ramps.
I’m looking forward to seeing if scooters will ease congestion or if they’ll cause more chaos on city streets.
Nathan Donnell is vice president of business development with Premium Parking.